IMAJINE-Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe
Third-party funded project
Project title IMAJINE-Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe
Principal Investigator(s) Szoecsik, Edina
Szöcsik, Edina
Co-Investigator(s) Siegrist, Rahel
Organisation / Research unit Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften / Fachbereich Politikwissenschaft,
Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften / Politikwissenschaften (Bailer)
Project Website
Project start 01.03.2018
Probable end 31.12.2021
Status Active

Edina Szöcsik and her team have leading roles in work packages four (WP4) and seven (WP7) of the “IMAJINE” Horizon 2020 project.


Work Package 7: Regionalist Movements and Social, Economic and Spatial Justice

Across Europe, regionalist movementsclaiming to represent historically, culturally, linguistically and/or economically distinct groups within the state's territory are increasingly seeking to challenge the stability and integrity of existing territorial structures of governance. In particular, regionalist parties have become enduring and influential players in regional and (in some cases) state-level political arenas. In many cases, they have been successful in achieving greater self-government for their sub-state territories. In some cases, they even question the territorial framework of the state altogether by demanding independence.

The key feature of regionalist mobilisation is the pursuit of some form of 'sub-state territorial empowerment' in the name of a specific territorial group within the state's boundaries – be it referred to as a region, nation or people – which has a distinctive territorial identity (e.g. based on ethnicity, language, culture and/or traditions) and interests (economic, cultural, political, social and/or symbolic in nature). WP7 analyses how regionalist actors justify their territorial claims. It aims to study (1) the factors that influence framing strategies of regionalist actorsand (2) the electoral consequences of regionalist actors’ framing strategies.

The comparative analysisof regionalist movements’ demands and framing strategies includes twelve regions across eight European states: Scotland and Wales (UK); Catalonia and Galicia (Spain); Corsica (France); Bavaria (Germany); Aosta Valley, Northern Italy and Sardinia (Italy); Friesland (Netherlands); the Kashubian minority/Kashubia (Poland); and the Hungarian minority/the Szeklerland (Romania). The analysis relies on a computer assisted qualitative content analysis of regionalist parties’ and civil society organisations’ programmatic documents within the time period 1990-2018 and interviews with the leaders of these organisations.

The project partners of WP7 are:  

Aberystwyth University (UK), TU Dresden (DE), Polish Academy of Sciences (PL), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL), Università degli Studi di Siena (IT), Universität Basel (CH)


Work Package 4: Experimental Survey on Solidarity and Territorial Cohesion

WP4 explores public attitudes towards regional autonomy, territorial cohesion, solidarity and mobility in seven EU member states. Surprisingly, although territorial inequalities and cohesion policies within both countries and the EU play a key role in policy agendas, the political science literature has paid little attention to mass attitudes on these issues. By conducting an experimental survey, this work package provides original, cross-national data to produce valid causal inferences about the determinants of mass attitudes towards territorial cohesion. It complements WP7 and other work packages by unravelling citizens’ perspectives and attitudes towards territorial cohesion, solidarity and spatial justice.

The experimental survey covers seven EU member states: France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Spain. These countries have been selected on the basis of geographical and demographic features, patterns of territorial inequality and regional distinctiveness.

The project partners of WP4 are:

Aberystwyth University (UK), TNS Opinion, Università degli Studi di Siena (IT), Università degli Studi ‘G. d'Annunzio’ Chieti-Pescara (IT), Universität Basel (CH)



Keywords regionalist movements, territorial cohesion, framing, qualitative content analysis, interviews, experimental survey
Financed by Commission of the European Union

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